There are many good reasons to hire a professional genealogist.
Perhaps, there are as many reasons as there are people seeking a professional. Generally, however, the decision to engage a professional is need based. Here are some examples.
- The professional can fill some research specialization.
- The research has reached a “brick wall.”
- Confirmation of family lore.
- The results of a DNA test are confusing or surprising.
- Organization and updating of existing research.
- The desire for direct mentoring.
- Group or Society educational needs.
- Interest in your family’s history, but you just don’t have the time.
Each of these, and more, are wonderful reasons to seek a professional genealogist. But, there is an even more important question than ‘why’ to hire a genealogist. That question is, Who should I hire? Again, this is need-based, but also based upon quality. So what should you look for? Here are some ideas.
- Look for a skilled and proven researcher. What are the genealogist’s areas of expertise, background, and education?
- Is the genealogist a member of professional organizations expounding standards, ethics, and the best practices of the genealogical discipline? These organizations include the Association of Professional Genealogists and the National Genealogical Society.
- Seek a professional who has taken the time to complete advanced education and training in contemporary and cutting-edge practices in genealogical research. Boston University’s Center for Professional Education is one of the most sought after programs, granting a Certificate in Genealogical Research through a rigorous 15-week program. Specialized week-long Institutes, such as the Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy and the Institute of Genealogical & Historical Research offer the latest and most advanced training on all topics in the field of genealogical practice.